I spent last night at Lavendyl, which is—get this—a lavender farm. A woman named Corry and her husband Jan run the farm, its distillery, and two guest cottages.
Even though most of their 40 varieties of lavender weren’t in bloom, I felt like a wide-eyed character in a fairy tale (possible title: “The Lovely Lavender Fairy”). Upon arrival in this enchanted land, I was offered lavender shortbread and lavender tea. Then Corry showed me how the lavender is distilled into essential oil:
In the next chapter of what was fast becoming my most well-loved fairy tale, I wandered the different lavender fields.
Of course, I encountered a lavender scarecrow:
Back in the cottage I made dinner in my little kitchenette. I had random food in the car—kumara (which is like sweet potato, but better), asiago cheese, shallots, and zucchini. Corry gave me a tomato and invited me to pick rosemary and thyme in the herb garden. It all somehow came together into a very tasty meal, as you’d expect it to in fairyland. Then I took bath in my private outdoor tub (I poured in this whole bottle of lavender water):
Here’s my little cottage (such a treat after a string of nights in hostels):
There was a lavender sachet on my pillow. It was kind of like being on a honeymoon with myself. In the morning, I put on my fluffy robe and stepped onto my porch. In a little wooden mailbox-type thing under a fig tree was a fresh loaf of warm whole-grain bread. I toasted some and slathered it in lavender jam (as one does). I also made eggs that had come from the hens on the farm next door. As one does.
In the morning I tore myself away from the land of lavender and forced myself to go on an almost two-hour hike. I almost didn’t make it past the trailhead because these two girls were guarding it:
I crossed a swinging footbridge (always a nice way to punctuate a hike in NZ):
And of course I encountered a waterfall.
Then, on my way out, these two let me witness this:
When I returned to the cottage I had time for another lavender bath! And so ends my South Island experience. I’m now on the ferry back to the North Island. Lots of seasick passengers. Too bad seasickness isn’t on the long list of things lavender is used for (anxiety, depression, insomnia, cramps, bites and stings, sunburn, scarring, acne), otherwise I had a huge stash I could offer them.